Firm News and Recent Decisions
October 22, 2014
Michael Rothstein has been elected Treasurer of the Federal Bar Association’s Chicago chapter. With over 16,000 attorneys and 1,200 federal judges in its national ranks, the Federal Bar Association is the leading bar association focusing on attorneys who practice in the federal courts. The FBA’s Chicago chapter works closely with the judges of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to provide the Chapter’s members with a wide variety of educational and professional programs relevant to federal practice.
September 17, 2014
Michael Rothstein has been nominated to become a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Membership in The Fellows is limited to less than one percent of the lawyers admitted to practice in each jurisdiction of the United States and to a small percentage of international lawyers.
August 1, 2014
Tabet DiVito & Rothstein successfully represented Abbott Laboratories in an appeal concerning Abbott’s dispute with Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, over insurance coverage for a pharmaceutical product recall. In its opinion, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the circuit court of Cook County’s award to Abbott of over $80 million in damages. TDR attorneys Gino L. DiVito and John M. Fitzgerald and attorneys at Winston & Strawn LLP served as appellate co-counsel for Abbott in this case.
Tabet DiVito & Rothstein has extensive experience in complex appellate matters, and it regularly represents businesses in commercial insurance disputes.
July 28, 2014
On July 21, 2014, Judge Amy St. Eve entered an order dismissing with prejudice copyright and other claims in connection with a lawsuit filed against a U.S. recording company in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant recording company and its artists improperly used plaintiff’s purportedly protected materials. Plaintiff’s lawsuit asserted 14 counts alleging numerous copyright infringement claims, a claim under the Visual Artists Rights Act, and a host of state law claims. TDR attorneys Timothy Hudson and Mili Smith moved to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety. Judge St. Eve granted a full dismissal with prejudice with respect to all claims over which the Court had original jurisdiction and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s remaining state law claims.
July 14, 2014
In his Law and Accounting Column in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Jack Barber discussed a recent Illinois Appellate Court case involving two Illinois laws relating to the gaming industry. In Tomm’s Redemption Inc. v. Hamer, 2014 IL App (1st) 131005 (March 14, 2014), the Appellate Court discussed two statutes that impact the gaming industry. The Coin-Operated Amusement Device and Redemption Machine Tax Act, 35 ILCS 510/1, applies to coin-operated games that are not used for gambling. The Video Gaming Act, 230 ILCS 40/35, applies to video game devices used for gambling.
In the case, the Appellate Court upheld the validity of Section 35(a) of the Video Gaming Act, which prohibits and criminalizes video-gaming devices that contain knock-off switches and retention meters. Knock-off switches and retention meters, which have been prohibited by federal law since at least 1951, serve as a type of illicit accounting system that transforms amusement devices that do not have a direct-payout system, such as a slot machine, into gambling devices. The Appellate Court also held that tax decals issued pursuant to the Coin-Operated Amusement Device and Redemption Machine Tax Act do not constitute a license to operate a coin-operated video gaming machine. Rather than licenses, these decals are only proof that tax was paid on the coin-operated device.
July 10, 2014
TDR partner John Fitzgerald has been quoted twice in Crain’s Chicago Business articles concerning the pending constitutional challenge to Public Act 98-0599, which diminished the pension benefits received by members of State retirement systems. In a Crain’s article published on April 23, 2014, John was quoted on the significance of the Illinois Appellate Court’s recent decision in Illinois County Treasurers Association v. Hamer, 2014 IL App (4th) 130286. In another Crain’s article published on July 3, 2014, John commented on the impact of the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Kanerva v. Weems, 2014 IL 115811.
Along with TDR partners Gino L. DiVito, Brian C. Haussmann and Jack Barber and TDR associate Uri Abt, John represents retired teachers and retired and active school administrators in the consolidated litigation concerning the constitutionality of Public Act 98-0599
July 10, 2014
Jack Barber served as a panelist for a seminar entitled Resolving Shareholder Disputes as part of the Complex Financial Litigation series presented online by Thompson Reuters’ West Legal Ed Center and Financial Poise. Barber joined Hon. Richard J. Billick Jr. (Retired) and Charlie Kuyk, CPA on the panel, which was moderated by David E. Lieberman.
The panel discussion focused on disputes that arise in closely-held corporations, family businesses, and partnerships. Barber discussed the primary issues that cause shareholder and partner disputes, the most common types of disputes, the financial impact of disputes, methods to resolve disputes, and how shareholders and partners can guard against disputes by entering into shareholder or partnership agreements.
June 26, 2014
In this Law and Accounting column in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Jack Barber discussed a recent Illinois Appellate Court opinion holding that the Illinois Department of Revenue was not bound by its prior determinations that an organization was tax exempt. In Meridian Village Association v. Hamer, 2014 IL App (5th) 130078 (March 28, 2014), the court held that the Department properly concluded that a home for elderly residents was not exempt from property tax. The court reached this conclusion despite the fact that the Department had previously found the home to be exempt from retailers’ occupation and use tax. The court held that the Department was not bound by its prior determination and that the home did not establish that it was exempt from tax under Illinois law.
The appellate court’s analysis and decision emphasize that charitable organizations operating in Illinois cannot simply rely on tax exemption decisions by the Department of Revenue in prior years or regarding other taxes. Charitable organizations must continuously ensure that their operations meet the criteria for charitable-use tax exemptions to ensure they will maintain their tax-exempt status under Illinois law. And charitable organizations faced with a tax dispute must ensure that they and their legal counsel establish the necessary facts to support the claimed tax exemption under Illinois law.
May 15, 2014
On May 12, 2014, Judge Daniel Gillespie entered summary judgment for an Indiana engineer who was a defendant in a personal injury action filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Plaintiff is an Illinois ironworker who was injured while off-loading and staging I-beams at a construction site. Plaintiff alleged that the I-beams were constructed in such a manner that they were top heavy and side heavy and that instability caused the beams to shift unexpectedly resulting in crushing injuries to his legs. Plaintiff brought the action against the general contractor and various subcontractors involved with steel fabrication and erection. Plaintiff also named the project engineer. After taking only one deposition, TDR attorneys Dan Stanner and John Fitzgerald established that the engineer owed no legal duty in connection with the delivery or staging of the beams. Accordingly, Judge Gillespie entered summary judgment for TDR’s client at the very early stages of the discovery process.
May 15, 2014
On April 28, 2014, TDR obtained summary judgment for defendants in a fraud action stemming from the sale of a shopping center in the Chicago suburbs. TDR engaged in a thorough fact investigation revealing that the fraud allegations were entirely baseless. TDR attorneys Dan Stanner and Brent Ryan outlined those facts in a summary judgment motion submitted to The Honorable Raymond Mitchell in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The early summary judgment avoided the need for protracted discovery and depositions. Moreover, Judge Mitchell granted TDR’s request that plaintiff pay the defendants’ attorneys’ fees pursuant to a fee shift provision in the parties’ agreement. As a result, the defendants obtained a complete victory and will be reimbursed their fees and costs incurred in defending the case.